La premiata label Eskimo festeggia in queste settimane il decimo anno di vita. Lo fa tra l´altro con uno stilosissimo box set intitolato “Eskimonde”. All´interno, la bellezza di cinque CD, i primi due retrospettivi del meglio del catalogo dell´etichetta, il terzo raccolta di nuovi ed inediti remixes ad opera di, tra gli altri, DJ Harvey, Solomun e Deetron, e per finire due speciali mix ad opera dai fondatori della label, Benoelie e Mo, meglio conosciuti come The Glimmers. Con loro abbiamo avuto la possibilitá di scambiare quattro chiacchere a proposito dei loro inizi, del suono della loro cittá Ghent e del best-seller della loro label ed uno dei nostri favoriti, Aeroplane. Cento di questi giorni Eskimo!
-First of all I would like you to tell our readers how your career started. If I remember well you turned from party animals to DJ “twins” to label founders in your native Ghent. Is that right?
We were DJ’s from the very beginning, we started playing records for an audience in a student bar when we were like 15 years old. There we played from 7:30 in the morning till 8:30, then we went to school, then between midday and 1:30 pm another DJ set and from 4:30 pm till like 6pm we did the last DJ set of the day. We did this from Monday till Friday. The place was always packed, full of students. I think we did this for like 2 years, and the little money we earned doing this was all going to records, records, and even more records..
We did not had a weekend job then, this started in the second year. We started playing in a bar in Ghent’s city centre on Fridays from 6pm till 5 am. Now that were crazy DJ sets. As we were with the both of us we each did a shift. So nightlife started for us, and we were looking for the proper DJ job. We were not drinking, it was only soft drinks, playing music and chasing girls.
Soon more and more night jobs came and we became resident DJ’s in a few bars playing Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.. But it was November 1987, exactly 25 years ago, that we started at Ghent’s most legendary nightclub called Fifty Five. That club was the real deal, we did DJ sets from 10pm till 8am, marathon DJ sets, playing music going from New Beat, Acid House and New Wave to early morning ’70s Rock classics and Funk, Reggae, Pop, etc.. The crowd was very into music so we as being only 18 years old had to learn a lot about music that was from way before our time. And we learned quickly, it was the best thing ever for us being amateurs but very excited and with only one thing on our minds, to take over. Early nineties we started playing all over Belgium and we started to make a name. And by 1997 the Eskimo parties were born and two years later these parties were attracting over 7000 clubbers.
N.E.W.S., a record company in Belgium, wanted to do an Eskimo compilation. It was new, it was fresh, we were bringing different musical genres at one party. People loved it. So then the Eskimo Recordings story more or less started.
-Do you still party hard nowadays or you opted for a more considerate approach to the djing /party side of things?
We were always very careful with the nightlife, we saw a lot of things and as healthy youngsters we also tried a lot of things, but you can’t party and do a proper job. So you can say we are party animals, but know when we can go all the way and when we can’t go all the way. Though we missed a few flights in our career, so sometimes the night is stronger than our healthy way of doing the job. And after all this time we still feel like we did back then, it´s never boring, it is always a challenge to get a crowd going and to make a night successful.
-How influential was it for you and the early sound of Eskimo label being based in Belgium?
It is the sound of Ghent. Together with a few other labels, clubs and DJs we defined a specific sound and way of DJing that is very linked to our hometown Ghent. Look at R&S Records, 2 Many DJs, Boccaccio (a legendary club where at the end of the ’80s every Sunday more then 2000 clubbers came to party on New Beat and early Acid House)… All doing so different things but all very much with a Ghent spirit, a Ghent feel.
-The Eskimo label published the Prins Thomas and Lindstrom´s debut album. How do you remember that collaboration between the label and the two Norwegians?
We were very heavily touring at that time, we had just released our DJ Kicks for !K7 Records and we were on the road, doing DJ sets in Japan, US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, etc.. Dirk, who helped us a lot with the label from the very beginning and was in fact the healthy brain behind the label was taking over and he really did some great releases. We did not had any time anymore because of being on the road constantly.
-Here at DLSO everybody loves Aeroplane, how did you get to discover sign them on Eskimo?
Most acts were signed because of demo’s or from people who knew something or knew someone. Aeroplane was an instant success, a perfect crossover between pop and dance, very well crafted and very Eskimo. So far he’s the most successful artist on the label. We are very proud to have him on board. His latest single by the way is with Jamie Principle on vocals, and it is amazing!
-Which are in your opinion the highlights of this ten years of the label in terms of commercial succes and on the other hand, the releases your are more proud of?
Like mentioned before, Aeroplane probably is the most successful release so far. But without the two albums of Lindstrom & Prins Thomas and the early DJ compilations made by us and all the others maybe the foundation would not have been so strong and the effect would have been completely different. Everything is very linked, some releases were very underground but they all helped shaping the label to the label as it is today.
-Can you describe us the process that led to the box set “Eskimonde” and in particular to the creation of the 2 mixes included in the box set, from both – Mo´s and Ben´s- side?
We both started on a few mix ideas without telling each other which tracks we would use, we were only limited by the back catalogue of the Eskimo Recordings label. But over the years a lot was released so there was a lot of choice. Then we came together to listen to each others results, to see which direction we would take for the mix. Both were so different and so complementary that we decided to finish each our mix and deliver both and see which one they would prefer for the release. They immediately liked the idea of it and decided to release both. So we are very happy with that.
-If you should try and sum up 10 years of Eskimo how would you describe them? How was the journey for you so far?
A journey with ups and downs, with some fights and some great nights, and a lot of great releases. We are very happy that we could do this and a lot was made possible by N.E.W.S., they kept believing in it all and were willing to go with the flow.
-What have Eskimo got planned for the future of your label? New albums, compilations and 12”s in the pipeline?
A few new singles are planned, album wise of course there is Aeroplane who is working on a lot of new material and we are going to try to get the “Eskimonde” out there and let the world know that we have 10 more years!